Bryan Caplan  

Climate Preference Survey Pretest

Myth of the Rational Voter<... The Nonprofit Sector...

Remember my Climate Preference Survey idea?

Suppose you surveyed a random sample of Americans with the following question:

"Overall, would you rather the climate in the area you live got warmer, got cooler, or stayed the same?"

Yesterday, I polled a class of 20 undergrads, after reminding them not to let the current weather bias their answer. Survey roughly says:
  • 10% in Northern VA want a cooler climate
  • 40% want the climate to stay the same
  • 50% want a warmer climate

Anyone else want to pretest this question? If you do, tell me your latitude, number of respondents, and the response breakdown in the comments. If I get ten or more responses, I'll do a followup post, complete with graphs.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (12 to date)
John Goes writes:

I live in Portland, Oregon at the moment and wish the climate were cooler.

I have lived in Chicago, Illinois for most my life and will return there soon likely, and I wish it had cooler summers and colder winters.

Dan Hill writes:

Notwithstanding your instruction not to let the current weather influence their answers, I guarantee if you ask the question again in July, prefereably on a hot, humid day you'll get a lower proportion wanting it warmer. Of course those who want it warmer will still want to live in air conditioned houses and drive air conditioned cars to air conditioned malls and offices and schools....

Eric Crampton writes:

43° 32' S 172° 37' E
I'd be happier with up to 2° warmer, so long as sea levels do not rise more than a metre. puts my house underwater with a 5 metre rise...

R. S. Porter writes:

50°26′10″N, 104°37′05″W

I want a colder summer and a warmer winter. But overall If I had to choose I'd want it to be cooler, I hate hot weather.

Stephen B. writes:

From Seattle Washington. I wouldn't mind it if it were a bit cooler year round. Maybe 4 deg. F less year round. Well, maybe keep the summers the same, but the rest of the year a bit cooler.

speedmaster writes:

Rochester, NY. I'd prefer it to stay the same.

Horatio writes:

Central North Carolina

I prefer a much shorter and colder winter with a rainy summer. Tropical summer rains, not that terrible drizzle they get in New England. I would give up the winter for a tropical climate just to have the summer rains.

shamus writes:

It might be interesting to ask this question in the same location at differenct times of the year. Poll results could be seasonally biased.

John Thacker writes:

Personally, I'd nearly always prefer warmer weather. My idea of pleasant weather outside is around 85 or 90 F.

I cannot understand at all the person who likes the Rochester weather. I spent five years in Ithaca, and the only reason I could barely stand it was thinking "well, it's worse in Rochester" nearly every day.

I do think that asking it when Fairfax is about 20 degrees below normal weather for April-- a chance of SNOW SHOWERS tomorrow night!-- is going to bias it regardless of instructions.

Wild Pegasus writes:

If this is supposed to be a parable about global warming, it's not a very good one. The problem is that global warming doesn't mean the Earth uniformly rises 2C in temperature everywhere. Weather is a highly complex phenomenon. Raising the average worldwide temperature by 2C can make some places rise by 5C, and other places drop by 3C. Ocean currents can change, winds can blow stronger or cease to blow at all, and hurricane and typhoons patterns can alter. So it's more of a crapshoot than turning up the thermostat in your house.

Having said that, as an East Coast guy, I don't really mind the temperature, but I would grateful if the humidity from late spring to early autumn would halve.

- Josh

steep writes:

N 41 48' W 111 48'

I would like a warmer climate.
I like to eat tangerines, bananas and pineapple,
but I can't find any locally grown fruit to buy.

Thomas B. writes:

People say they're a "hot weather person" or a "cold weather person." I'm not buying it. Pretty sure we would all prefer the weather at 72 F all year round. Balk all you want, there's a reason it's called "room temperature." It's the average temperature we use for our rooms. Moreover, since about 37% of city folk seem to lie in polls, our best bet might be my hasty stab at revealed preferences through linguistic analysis.

The average landmass temperature is 48.7° F [NCDC]. It'd probably be unfair to assume a uniform rise in global climate by 23.3° would leave more local averages at 72 deg, but I'm pretty confident cooling wouldn't do the trick.

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